Advice for Getting a Personal Injury Attorney for Your Car Accident

There is no law requiring that you must hire an attorney to seek compensation after a car accident in Washington. However, many victims of car accidents opt to obtain legal counsel and representation to focus on their health and recovery while also pursuing legal action. You have the right to hire legal representation at any time during the process of making an insurance claim or pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.

While hiring a lawyer does not guarantee a specific outcome for your case, legal professionals like Abeyta Nelson Personal Injury attorneys can assist in investigating the crash, collecting evidence of the other driver’s negligence, and managing negotiations with insurers. This support can significantly ease the legal burden, allowing you to spend more time with your family and focus on your physical recovery.

The decision to hire an attorney after a car accident ultimately depends on your comfort level with handling the claims process on your own. You can seek legal counsel at any stage of the process.

Filing an Insurance Claim

After a motor vehicle accident, the first step in seeking compensation is to file a claim with either your own insurance provider or the other driver’s insurance company. In states where comparative negligence laws apply, if you share any fault in the accident, your compensation might be reduced by your percentage of fault.

In situations where the other motorist lacks sufficient insurance coverage or carries a policy that does not adequately cover your losses, it can complicate matters. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hundreds of thousands of car accident injuries necessitate immediate hospitalization, with the severity of your injuries playing a crucial role in determining if you have a valid compensation claim.

Keep in mind that symptoms of some car accident injuries, such as whiplash, may not appear until several days after the accident, as noted by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

If the other driver’s policy fails to cover all your losses, and you have uninsured motorist coverage, you might pursue compensation through your own policy. Engaging an attorney like those from Abeyta Nelson Personal Injury attorneys immediately after an accident can help you assess your losses and explore all available options through your insurance.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

In instances where even your own policy does not fully cover your losses, such as with an uninsured motorist, you might consider pursuing the remainder through a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver.

If an insurance company’s settlement offer seems inadequate, you can file a personal injury lawsuit within your state’s statute of limitations. Lawyers like Abeyta Nelson Personal Injury attorneys can help determine the timeline you have to file a lawsuit and take necessary legal action to meet deadlines.

When pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, several factors must align. You need to demonstrate real economic or non-economic losses through documentation like medical records. Establishing the other driver’s fault is also crucial.

Fault for the Accident

For instance, if a driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol beyond the legal limit, or was distracted by a phone or GPS, this constitutes negligence. A lawyer can investigate the cause of the accident and gather evidence to establish the other driver’s fault.

Why Should I Sue and When?

People sue after car accidents primarily to seek compensation for various losses and damages incurred due to the accident. Here are some common reasons why individuals may decide to file a lawsuit:

  1. Medical Expenses: To cover current and future medical costs related to injuries sustained in the accident. This can include hospital stays, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and any long-term care needs.
  2. Lost Wages: Compensation for lost income due to the inability to work while recovering. This also can extend to diminished earning capacity if the injuries impact the victim’s ability to earn income in the future.
  3. Property Damage: To recover the cost of repairs or the replacement value of a vehicle and other personal property damaged in the crash.
  4. Pain and Suffering: For physical pain and emotional distress caused by the accident, including ongoing discomfort, anxiety, stress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
  5. Permanent Disability or Disfigurement: If the accident results in long-term impairment (like Traumatic Brain Injury) or visible scarring, victims might seek compensation for these lasting effects.
  6. Wrongful Death: In cases where the accident leads to fatalities, the family of the deceased may file a lawsuit to get compensation for funeral costs, loss of financial support, and loss of companionship.
  7. Punitive Damages: In cases where the conduct of the at-fault driver was particularly reckless or egregious, such as driving under the influence, victims might seek punitive damages as a way to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct in the future.

Here’s an Example of Why Someone Might Sue

A 17-year-old woman was brought into the emergency department after a car accident. Initially stable with a blood pressure of 110/75 mmHg, a heart rate of 78 beats per minute, and an oxygen saturation of 98%, she reported mild epigastric pain. On examination, there was noticeable peritoneal irritation upon abdominal palpation. Her initial hemoglobin was recorded at 12 g/dl. Ultrasonography revealed a cystic lesion on her right ovary, prompting further investigation. A CT scan ruled out the presence of free air or fluid in the peritoneal cavity and showed no signs of visceral injury. However, it did confirm the presence of a 5-cm cystic lesion on the right ovary, raising suspicions of a teratoma. The patient was admitted to the clinic. Despite clinical improvement and remission of abdominal pain, she developed fevers reaching up to 100.4°F. She received broad-spectrum intravenous antibiotics and was discharged four days later in good clinical condition with normal blood values.

Ten days post-discharge, she returned to the emergency department with vague abdominal pain and a persistent fever accompanied by rigors. She was now febrile, tachycardic, and tachypneic, with diffuse abdominal tenderness localized mainly in the hypogastrium and right lower quadrant, although no peritoneal irritation was evident. Laboratory tests showed leukocytosis with a white blood cell count of 12,453/mm3 and elevated C-reactive protein levels of 25 mg/dl. A subsequent CT scan with oral and intravenous contrast again highlighted the right ovarian cystic lesion. Given her deteriorating condition, the decision was made to proceed with exploratory laparoscopy two days later, after conservative management with IV antibiotics, fluids, and analgesics. During the establishment of pneumoperitoneum using the Hasson technique through the umbilicus, pus was noted escaping from the abdomen. The laparoscopy revealed a significant amount of pus and extensive adhesions between the bowel loops. Due to limited visualization and poor exposure, the procedure was converted to a laparotomy via a Pfannenstiel incision.

The surgical team conducted a thorough exploration of the peritoneal cavity, identifying and resecting a ruptured ovarian cyst while preserving the ovary. The surgery included adhesiolysis and meticulous abdominal irrigation with at least 10 liters of warm saline solution. Postoperatively, the patient remained afebrile and had an uneventful recovery, being discharged on the third postoperative day. Histological examination of the excised cyst revealed a mature cystic teratoma containing teeth, hair, and bone tissue components.

Six months after the surgery, the patient was in excellent health, and free from complications. This case underscores the critical importance of timely intervention and the challenges of diagnosing internal injuries post-trauma, highlighting the need for vigilance in post-accident care.

The length of care, the number of tests and ultimately surgery this woman went through post-accident can add up significantly.

Download PDF.

Typical Car Accident Injuries

Car accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, from minor to life-threatening.

Here are the 10 most common injuries people typically sustain in car accidents:

  1. Whiplash – Often occurs during rear-end collisions, causing rapid back-and-forth neck movement.
  2. Concussions – Caused by the head being violently shaken or striking an object like the steering wheel or window.
  3. Cuts and Scrapes – Loose objects inside the car during a crash can become projectiles that might cut or scrape occupants.
  4. Broken Ribs – Ribs are particularly fragile and can be broken easily under the pressure of a crash.
  5. Bruises – Impact with parts of the car or loose objects can cause bruising.
  6. Soft Tissue Injuries – Injuries to muscles, ligaments, and tendons throughout the body.
  7. Broken Bones – Arms, legs, ankles, and wrists are particularly vulnerable to breaks during crashes.
  8. Internal Bleeding – Severe impacts can cause internal organs to suffer damage leading to internal bleeding.
  9. Herniated Discs – The impact can cause the spine’s disc material to bulge or rupture, leading to significant pain and discomfort.
  10. Emotional Injuries – Psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur following a traumatic event like a car accident.

The top 5 severe injuries in car accidents include:

  1. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) – Severe impacts can cause brain injuries, which can have lasting effects on cognitive function and overall brain health.
  2. Spinal Cord Injuries – These can result in partial or complete paralysis, depending on where along the spine the injury occurs and the severity.
  3. Amputations – Severe injuries might require surgical removal of a limb or body part.
  4. Severe Burns – Can occur from fires or explosions in a car accident and require long recovery periods and possibly lead to significant scarring and physical disability.
  5. Multiple Trauma (Polytrauma) – Severe accidents can cause multiple life-threatening injuries at once, which complicates treatment and recovery processes.

Medical Care Costs in Washington To Treat The Above Injuries

In exploring the medical care costs associated with the most common and severe car accident injuries in Washington state, it becomes clear that both direct and indirect expenses can place a significant strain on victims and their families.

  • MRI Scan: $1,150-$3,000
  • CT Scan: $400-$500
  • X-Rays: $100-$1,000
  • Rib Surgery: $4,430-$17,100+
  • Spine Surgery: $25,000-$70,000+
  • Herniated Disc: $20,000-$50,000+
  • Severe Burns/Cosmetic Surgery: Varies widely from $500 up to $125,000 per patient, depending on severity and reconstruction
  • Traumatic Brain Injury: $85,000 up to $3,000,000 depending on severity, and whether or not the afflicted can recover or requires care

Hiring Personal Injury Attorneys in Yakima

If you’re facing the aftermath of a car accident in Yakima, WA, and grappling with the daunting medical expenses and legal complexities, partnering with Abeyta Nelson Personal Injury attorneys can provide the support and expertise you need. With a proven track record of advocating for accident victims, Abeyta Nelson offers personalized legal guidance that prioritizes your recovery and financial well-being. Don’t navigate the challenging journey to compensation alone. Let Abeyta Nelson Personal Injury attorneys champion your cause, ensuring you receive the justice and support essential for your recovery and peace of mind.

Call us at 509-588-0240 or send a message to start your consultation now.

Last : Demandas por COVID-19 y Lesiones Personales Next : Are Landlords Liable for Tenant’s Dog Bites?